‘We cannot depend on Sri Lankan system for war crimes trials’ – Sumanthiran

Sri Lanka does not even attempt to start an investigation into the murder of journalist ‘if there is a Tamil name’ claimed Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian M A Sumanthiran, in a speech where he called for an international accountability process for war crimes. In a scathing attack on the current government, Sumanthiran said Colombo had “only talked and done nothing for the last four years” when it came to investigating high profile killings. “Year after year you say all these names, and you’re complicit with the previous regime in covering up these crimes. Only words, nothing else...

Militarisation: Sri Lankan army starts cement business in occupied Mullaitivu

The Sri Lankan army, occupying the Mulliyavalai thuyilum illam (LTTE cemetery) in Mullaitivu, has started selling cement bricks, angering residents who say that the army has involved itself in every small-scale commercial activity in the district, undercutting local traders. Adverts for the business appeared outside the 59th division camp this week with a telephone order service. "We ask them to return our lands and withdraw from our daily lives, and instead they find another livelihood of ours to destroy," a resident said. Representatives of Mullaitivu have consistently stated that the...

Batticaloa shuts down in protest of Eastern Province governor appointment

Tamils in Batticaloa observed a hartal, a business-strike, in protest of the appointment of former UPFA MP M. L. A. M. Hizbullah as governor of the Eastern Province. Organisers of the protest said that Hizbullah, a pro-Rajapaksa politician who is being investigated for corruption, was unfit to to represent the Eastern Province. Locals have also accused Hizbullah of exacerbating inter-community tensions in the East during his time in the Eastern Provincial Council. The hartal saw Batticaloa town and other Tamil-majority towns in the district shut down on Friday with local and national...

Sri Lanka granted ‘unprecedented’ cricket corruption amnesty

The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced that it was granting Sri Lanka an unprecedented 15-day amnesty, as it continues its investigation into corruption on the island. The sport’s governing body said that those who come forward with information on corruption will not be charged during the amnesty period, which runs until the end of this month. "This is the first time the ICC has held an amnesty and it is in response to the very specific challenges we face in Sri Lanka,” said Alex Marshall, general manager of the ICC's anti-corruption unit. "Allowing retrospective reporting of...

Sri Lanka faces highest ever loan installment payment next week says Ranil

Sri Lanka’s prime minister told his parliament that Colombo faces its highest ever loan installment payment next week, as debts for the government continue to climb. Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that a payment of US$ 2.6 billion is due on Monday, despite the government’s foreign reserves coming down to US$ 6.9 billion. Colombo will be paying back close to US$ 5.9 billion in interest and principal payment for debt servicing alone throughout this year, reports Lanka Business Online. See more from LBO here .

‘Sri Lanka’s regime change has made no difference in delivering justice’ - USTPAC, BTF, ATC

Regime change in Sri Lanka has made “no difference in delivering justice and reparation to the victims of war crimes and genocide” said a group of Tamil diaspora organisations this week, in a call for an establishment of an international criminal tribunal. “Yet another New Year dawns almost 10 years since the worst of the genocidal onslaught against the Tamil people by the Sri Lankan state with no sign of the victims receiving justice in the near future,” said the United States Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC), British Tamils Forum (BTF) and Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) in a...

Shavendra Silva - ‘the most wanted man in Sri Lanka’

The head of Sri Lanka’s notorious 58 Division, an army unit that committed grave violations of international law during a military offensive that killed tens of thousands of Tamils, has been named as the army’s new Chief of Staff. Shavendra Silva assumed office this week after a controversial appointment to second-in-command of the army, a move that has sparked widespread condemnation. He marked taking up his post by giving offerings to Buddhist monks.

Two former LTTE cadres sentenced over 2000 attack on SL air force plane

Two former LTTE cadres were sentenced to imprisonment for shooting down a Sri Lankan air force aircraft in the year 2000. The North Central Provincial High Court judge handed out a sentence totalling 185 years each, with parole after 5 years ‘rigorous’ imprisonment, for the two former cadres, 41-year-old Rajathurai Jegan and 43-year-old Nallan Sivalingam. Jegan and Sivalingam allegedly fired a missile at a Sri Lankan air force Antonov-32 aircraft over Anuradhapura, downing the plane and killing all 37 people onboard, including Sri Lankan air force personnel, navy personnel, police officers...

Tamil political prisoner in 10th year of detention begins hunger strike

A Tamil political prisoner in Anuradhapura prison has been hunger striking for his release since last week, causing a serious deterioration in his health. 32-year-old Sivapragasam Sivaseelan has been in detention for almost 10 years after being arrested by the Sri Lankan army on May 17, 2009. A case against him under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) was only filed three years later in 2012. Due to repeated court delays, Sivaseelan’s case has not progressed almost six years later. He began hunger striking on January 5, citing distress about the uncertainty of his future and the recent...

Sirisena praises Silva’s ‘experience and leadership’

Sri Lanka’s president praised the “experience and leadership” of Shavendra Silva, the military’s latest chief of staff and commander who led an army unit accused of committing grave crimes against humanity, in an offensive that killed tens of thousands of Tamils. “It is my pleasure to congratulate Major General Shavendra Silva on his appointment as Chief of Staff,” said Maithripala Sirisena, as Silva took up the promotion this week. “I am sure your experience and leadership will bring strength and courage to Sri Lanka's defence forces.” The appointment of Silva has provoked widespread...

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